University holds No Power to Reduce Seats Approved by PCI-ALL HC

In a recent Judgment dated 10.09.2020, Hon’ble Justice Pankaj Bhatia of the Allahabad High Court quashed the order of an affiliating university Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow, reducing intake of Pharmacy College. The facts of the case are as follow:-

Brief History of the present case L.M.P. College Of Pharmacy vs State Of U.P. and Ors. (W.P. 13890 of 2020)

The case deals with the allotment of seats which were approved by the All India Council for Technical Education but were reduced by the affiliating authority. As per the petitioner, they had got the approval to run courses of B. Pharma, and D. Pharma. The respondent no.3 in this petition also permitted them to intake 60 people for the academic year 2019 and2020.

To get approval for the academic year 2020-21, the petitioner again approached the PCI who granted them the approval. They were allowed intake of 60 students for their courses. The problem, in this case, started when by an order dated 24.08.2020, the University, reduced the number of seats to 45 from 60 seats which were approved by PCI.

Similarly for other petitioners for the academic year 2020-2021, the petitioners got the approval of the Pharmacy Council of India to intake 100 students for their B. Pharma Course. When the petitioners approached the affiliating authority, the intake was reduced to 51 students.

Aggrieved by order of the respondents, they approached the Court and prayed that the order should be quashed.

Arguments of the Petitioners

The counsel of the petitioners raised three main contentions:-

  1. The first contention raised by the petitioners was that if the Apex body, the Pharmacy Council of India has approved 60 seats, then the affiliating body has no jurisdiction to reduce the seats.
  2. They also argued that no valid reason was provided for the reduction of the seats.
  3. As per the petitioner, the order dated 24.08.2020 violated the laws of Natural justice as they were not allowed to put forward their side of arguments.

University’s Contention

Counsel for the respondents stated that as per Regulation 6.20 of the Gautam Buddh Technical University Act, 2010, the Executive Council could reduce the number of seats as a penalty for a violation that a college had committed in the previous academic year.

The question before the Court

The main question of law that the Court had to decide was whether the respondent University had the power to reduce the number of seats that were allotted after the approval of Pharmacy Council Of India which is the apex body for allotment of seats.

In its decision, the Court relied on the Judgement of the Supreme Court in Parshvanath Charitable Trust v. All India Council for Technical Education, where the Court held that the affiliating body has no power to reduce the number of seats if the same has been approved by the Pharmacy Council Of India.

The Hon’ble Judge also placed reliance on PCI vs S.K Toshniwal Educational trust and Ors. 2020 S.S.C. Onliner Sc 296, where the Court observed that such cases would be governed by the provisions of Pharmacy Act, 1948 and the PCI will have the sole Jurisdiction.

After going through all the case laws and arguments of the parties, the Court held that the respondents, i.e. the affiliating University, has no power to reduce the number of seats. In such cases, only the Pharmacy Council of India will have the sole Jurisdiction.

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